Vegan homemade donuts!

Donuts-9

It’s national donut day and if you have the time tonight, celebrate by making donuts! These tasty guys are my favourite kind – old-fashioned cake donuts with a generous pinch of nutmeg, and a nice vanilla glaze.

Donuts-12

These are a vegan version of what Tim Horton’s “sour cream” donut could be if they really tried to elevate their donuts.

Donuts-16

Donuts-13

They do need to be fried in oil to get that crinkly, tasty texture, but even so they are a simple recipe to make. Blend, whisk, mix, rest, roll, cut, fry, glaze. Eat, eat, eat.

Donuts-15

Donuts-14

Donuts-11

You will obviously get a bunch of donut holes, too, but we ate all the ones I made before I took the pictures. Oops!

Donuts-10

Vegan Old-Fashioned “Sour Cream” Donuts

By Agent Minty, heavily adapted the recipe posted at The Messy Baker. Makes approximately 16 donuts plus holes.

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup (90g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) pastry or cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 block medium tofu
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp dairy-free “milk” of choice
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 + 2Tbsp icing sugar
  • 3 Tbsp warm water
  • 2 tsp corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • at least 3 cups of Canola or other neutral-flavoured oil for frying

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor or blender, puree tofu until completely smooth.
  3. Remove 3/4 cup +  4 tsp (200g) of the tofu puree and combine with vinegar, corn starch, and milk. Set aside (unused extra tofu can be discarded or used in a smoothie).
  4. Cream together shortening and granulated sugar until fluffy, about 1 minute in a stand mixer.
  5. Alternate repeatedly adding 1/3 of flour, then 1/2 of milk, beating mixture between additions. The dough will be sticky afterwards and a bit lumpy.
  6. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 40 minutes or longer.
  7. Fill a heavy, deep pan at least 2inches deep with oil. Heat on med-high until a candy thermometer in the oil indicates that the oil is 325°F/165°C.
  8. While the oil is heating, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until it is 1/2-inch thick. Cut into rounds about 2 or 3 inches across, with a hole in the centre (I used the lid from my bottle of vanilla extract). Scraps can be gently pouched together and rolled out again to cut out more donuts. You’ll see I also tried making the donut shape mentioned in Laura Wilder’s Farmer Boy, the passage mentioning it can be read here.
  9. Whisk the water into the icing sugar, mix in the vanilla and corn syrup, and set aside in a bowl near where your donuts will cool. Ensure that you have a wire rack set up with paper towels or a tray underneath, for cooling the donuts and that the oil is still the correct temperature.
  10. Brush extra flour off the donuts before frying – this will reduce splattering!
  11. Place 2-4 donuts at a time into the hot oil, allowing them to cook for 10-15 seconds on the first side, flipping them, cooking for another 1-2 minutes until golden brown on that seconds side, then flipping again (so the first side gets fully cooked).
  12. Remove donuts from oil and place more in one donut at a time. While second batch is cooking, dip the first batch in the vanilla glaze and set donuts to drip and cool on the wire rack.

 

Upside Down Cake for Beginners

UpsidedownCake-8

I know that some of my recipes can be complicated: a lot of steps, exotic ingredients, or both. However, you don’t always need something to be complex in order to be delicious. More importantly, making something vegan, or even just egg-free, doesn’t always require any extra thought. I’m sharing a recipe that’s easy and even a bit fun to make, and will be received with excitement. I created the cake recipe so than you can make it with basic grocery-store ingredients, but nobody will know how basic it is!

UpsidedownCake-2

UpsidedownCake-4

UpsidedownCake-5

Pineapple upside-down cake is a retro staple, moist and tasty, not needing a layer of icing. If you’re allergic to pineapple or cherries, sub out for another canned or candied fruit. I’m allergic to pineapple, so I made a small cake with canned mandarin orange segments.

UpsidedownCake-3

UpsidedownCake-6

The recipe makes a lot of cake: one large 9×13-inch (lasagna sized) pan, two square 8×8-inch pans, or three (slightly thin) round 8-inch pans. This is a perfect big cake to bring to a potluck, and is equally good eaten right away or after sitting on the counter overnight.

UpsidedownCake-7

UpsidedownCake-9

Once the cake comes out of the oven, you’ll need to let it set a few minutes before you flip it, and may still have some fruit and sugar stick to the pan. This is no big deal! Just use a fork to pick up the stuck fruit, arrange it back on the cake. Scrape up the remaining sugar-goo and use it to fill in any cracks in the surface. After it cools down, no one will be the wiser!

Upside-Down Cake

An Agent Minty original recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of pineapple rings
  • 1/2 cup glace or maraschino cherries
  • 1/4 cup margarine + 1/4 cup + tsp table margarine (becel vegan or similar) divided
  • 1 1/2 cups, packed, brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups superfine sugar (buy “berry sugar” or “instant dissolving sugar” but not “icing sugar” or “powdered sugar”. Alternatively, take regular white sugar and pulse in a blender for 20 seconds)
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp + 4 tsp baking powder, divided
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups almond or other milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Drain fruit and place on paper towels to further dry during the next step.
  3. Spread 1/4 cup of margarine on sides and bottom of large 9×13 pan or two smaller pans.
  4. Sprinkle brown sugar over bottom of pan over margarine.
  5. Arrange drained fruit in an attractive pattern, leaving a few spaces for the cake batter to peek through.
  6. Cream remaining margarine with shortening and white sugar.
  7. In a small cup, combine corn starch, water, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and 1 tsp baking powder.
  8. Pour into margarine mixture and beat until white and opaque.
  9. In a bowl, combine flour, remaining baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  10. Add 1/3 of dry mix to bowl, beat until mostly mixed.
  11. Add half of the milk and mix, then repeat steps 10 and 11 until everything has been incorporated. The finished batter will be a little stiff – not runny like from a cake mix.
  12. Scoop into pan(s) and smooth the surface of the batter evenly.
  13. Bake in the centre of the oven until a toothpick inserted in comes out clean. Small pans: ~26 minutes, large pans, ~35 minutes.
  14. Let pan sit for 3 or 4 minutes on a cooling rack. Place a cooling rack or platoon top of cake, and flip together to unfold cake.
  15. Pick out and arrange any fruit or caramel that stuck to the pan.

Coconut Lemon Cloud Cupcakes

Cloud Cupcakes-3

Fluffy, bright, dainty. Not always what I go for in a dessert – I often lean towards rich, nutty, and chocolatey. But this fantasy of a dessert popped into my head on a day when the sky was bright blue with clouds, and fresh with an Albertan breeze. Lemon and coconut pair here for a delightful treat reminiscent of sunshine and puffy clouds.

Cloud Cupcakes-5

The frosting will bring you to tears of joy – similar in texture to cream cheese frosting, but with a zip and coconut taste that you’ll love. The secret is to use full-fat coconut cream, and put the can in the fridge for at least an hour beforehand, so that the fatty part separates well away from the runny water.

Cloud Cupcakes-2

Cloud Cupcakes-1

My recipe also tucks a little pocket of sunny yellow lemon curd into the centre of the cakes. You’ll make more than you need, so store the rest in the fridge to spread on toast or scones the next morning. Yum!

Coconut Lemon Cloud Cupcakes

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Makes 12 frosted cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp melted coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp white shortening
  • 1 cup ultrafine sugar (take regular sugar and zip for a minute or less in a blender or clean coffee grinder)
  • 1 1/2 tsp powdered egg replacer + 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp non-dairy milk

Lemon Curd:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup +1/4 cup water
  • 4 tsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 tsp Bird’s custard powder (or 2 tsp corn starch + 1/4 tsp turmeric, though not quite as good)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp margarine

Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp margarine
  • 1/3 cup + 2 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch salt
  • 6 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk

Instructions:

Make the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cream together coconut oil and shortening until smooth.
  3. Beat in sugar until fluffy.
  4. Add in egg replacer mixture, lemon zest, and vanilla, beat for about one minute.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and side, and salt.
  6. In a cup, combine lemon juice and milk.
  7. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixer, beat briefly until mostly incorporated, then add half of the milk mixture and mix.
  8. Continue alternating flour and milk until all is mixed in. Scape down bowl and mix briefly.
  9. Divide mixture between 12 lined cupcake tins.
  10. Bake in the centre of the oven for 18 minutes, rotating halfway through.
  11. Remove cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely, at least one hour.

Prepare the lemon curd:

  1. Combine sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small saucepan, and heat on medium.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together 1/4 cup of water plus arrowroot and Bird’s powder. Once powders are well-mixed, add remaining water to mix.
  3. Bring sugar-juice mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently.
  4. Quickly mix up starch mixture again, and slowly pour into the simmering juice, stirring as it is added.
  5. Keep stirring juice mixture until it starts to thicken and become slightly shiny, about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in margarine.
  7. Place plastic wrap on surface of warm mixture to prevent a skin from forming.
  8. Cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator until surface of curd is cool to the touch.

Prepare the frosting:

  1. Cream together coconut oil and margarine.
  2. Beat in 1/3 cup icing sugar, lemon juice, and salt until creamy.
  3. Alternate adding 1/3 of the remaining icing sugar, 1/2 of the coconut milk, beating between each addition until smooth.
  4. Continue adding icing sugar and milk until it is all incorporated and well-mixed.

Assemble cupcakes (See pictures below):

  1. Using a melon baller or small knife, remove a 2 tsp-sized scoop from the top of each cupcake. Keep removed bits.
  2. Fill holes most of the way with lemon curd (about 1 1/2 tsp)
  3. Cut off all but top 1/4-inch off of removed cake bits and place back over holes in cupcakes, like a lid.
  4. Frost cupcakes with coconut icing – I recommend piping it on so that the pocket of lemon curd isn’t disturbed.
  5. Store cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Cloud Cupcakes-9

Cloud Cupcakes-8

Cloud Cupcakes-7

Cloud Cupcakes-6

Cloud Cupcakes-4

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

Hello, PSL lovers!

Do you love that sweet and spicy combination and wish you could enjoy its flavour year-round? Well, I’m here to satisfy your cravings in cupcake form!

PSL cupcakes (1 of 3)

Mrs. Minty is a certified Pumpkin Spice Latte lover (with soymilk, pleaseandthankyou), so I made these especially for her. The frosting looks like regular old buttercream, but is a caramel-fudge flavoured frosting with a hint of cinnamon, just like the stuff drizzled on top of your foam. These babies stay moist even two days after baking. Make some and enjoy pumpkin spice all year round!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes – Recipe by Agent Minty

Cupcakes – makes 12 medium cupckaes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup plain pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Set oven to 375F.
  2. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine oil, pumpkin puree, and flax until evenly mixed.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to oil/pumpkin mixture and stir well.
  5. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients.
  6. Stir until evenly mixed and smooth, but do not overmix.
  7. Divide batter between 12 lined muffin cups.
  8. Bake in centre of oven for 18 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.
  9. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cook for at least half an hour before frosting.

Cinnamon Caramel Frosting

EDIT October 2015: I mistakenly put the wrong volume of icing sugar when I originally published this recipe. The volume below is the corrected amount!

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp (packed) brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp +2 Tbsp non-dairy milk
  • 6 Tbsp good quality margarine
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • pinch salt
  • 4 cups icing sugar

Instructions:

  1. Combine brown sugar and 4 Tbsp milk and microwave for 20-30 seconds until sugar is dissolved and bubbly. Set aside.
  2. Beat margarine until softened. Add in vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Mix in 1/3 of the icing sugar. Beat until fluffy.
  4. Combine the caramel mixture and the remaining cold milk.
  5. Mix half of the milk mixture into the frosting.
  6. Mix in half of the remaining sugar, followed by the rest of the milk mixture.
  7. Mix in the rest of the sugar and beat until fluffy.
  8. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

PSL cupcakes (2 of 3)

Fruitcake is Awesome

Fruitcake4

I know, lots of people hate fruitcake. If you’re that type of person, give me two minutes to try to convince you. You’re probably used to some kind of brick-like item, filled with tough raisins, gummy coloured bits of questionable origin, and bitter walnuts.

This is where my fruitcake defies that stereotype. I do add raisins, candied fruit, and walnuts, but it’s a boozy, moist confection. It contains a majority of dried fruits that actually resemble their natural form. There are three types of nuts and just enough candied cherries to make it look festive.

Fruitcake5

This is great made several weeks ahead and practically marinated in brandy. It is equally delicious made at least a week in advance and allowed to “settle” in the refrigerator – this gives it time for the moisture from alcohol-soaked fruit to penetrate the rest of the cake.

A note about fruit choice: all of the fruit proportions are relatively flexible. Hate apricots? Use dried pineapple instead. Dried tropical fruits unavailable or too expensive? Use more dried cranberries and dates. Hate non-organic or artificially coloured fruits? Use dried natural ones exclusively. Part of the reason it has taken me years to blog this, after perfecting it in 2012, is that I kept forgetting to write down how much of what I used, so that you’d have guidelines to work from. The combination of fruits I have included here are what I prefer, but as long as they equal the same total volume of fruit, experiment away! All measurements of larger fruits are after they have been chopped and packed into a measuring cup.

Boozy Semi-Traditional Fruitcake – An original Agent Minty recipe

Makes 4 4×8″ loaves. Halve the recipe if you wish, with no problem!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup orange liqueur (Cointreau, Triple Sec, or Grand Marnier), or brandy
  • 1 1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups brown raisins
  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped dates (try to buy them whole and cut them yourself)
  • 1 cup citron cubes
  • 1 cup mixed peel cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped red and green candied cherries
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried papaya
  • 1 cup slivered blanched almonds
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup + 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 lb (340g) room-temperature Earth Balance hard margarine or butter
  • 3 cups (packed) brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup or cane syrup (I use Rogers brand) – Dark fruitcake lovers can use Molasses here
  • Grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • Grated zest and juice from 1 orange
  • 1 cup brandy (the cheap stuff will do)
  • Parchment paper
  • Extra brandy or rum

Instructions:

Prepare the Fruit and nuts:

  1. Combine the raisins, currants, and chopped apricots in a bowl with the orange liqueur, and allow to soak.
  2. Chop up the rest of your fruit. I like to keep about 20% of my candied cherries intact, but it’s really just and aesthetic choice.
  3. Combine all chopped and soaked fruit, chopped nuts, and 1/2 cup flour in a very large bowl until evenly coated in flour.

Fruitcake1

Prepare the cake batter:

  1. Combine remaining flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
  2. With a stand mixer, beat Earth Balance until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in brown sugar and beat until fluffy, another 2 minutes.
  4. Add syrup or molasses, orange juice and zest, and lemon juice and zest, and beat again until mixed in.
  5. Min in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then add half of the brandy.
  6. Repeat adding in 1/3 of the flour followed by the remaining brandy.
  7. Add in the last of the flour and stir until it is relatively consistent.
  8. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to stir a few times, making sure any ingredients on the bottom have been mixed in well.
  9. Add half of the fruit mixture to the batter and stir by hand until partially incorporated.
  10. If you have a large enough stand mixer bowl, add the rest of the fruit and finish stirring it in by hand.
  11. If your mixer bowl is too small, add the batter-fruit mix to the bowl remaining fruit and stir well.

Prepare the pans

  1. Set oven to 300F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Don’t bother doing this earlier, as from my experience the first steps will take way longer than the five minutes needed to preheat an oven.
  2. Coat all loaf pans (even non-stick!) with cooking spray.
  3. Line all pans with parchment paper. This seems like overkill, but $30 worth of fruitcake stuck to a pan two hours from now won’t feel like a joke).
  4. Tear off a sheet of tinfoil for every pan you plan to use.
  5. Fill each loaf pan 1/2 to 2/3 full maximum. If you fill the pans more than 2/3, you WILL have fruitcake batter dripping onto the bottom of your oven.
  6. Evenly distribute the four loaves on the middle rack of the oven and place a sheet of tinfoil over each one. This prevents the tops from singeing.
  7. Every hour, shuffle the arrangement of the loaves so that no loaf spends the entire time in the same spot in the oven.
  8. Bake for 2 1/4 to 3 hours. After 2 1/4 hours, start checking the cakes for doneness. The middle should still be slightly soft, but passes a toothpick test. The edges should not be burnt!
  9. Remove to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

Fruitcake3

Store and marinate

  1. Remove the cakes from the plans. Running around the edge of the cake with a knife can help. If a chunk of cake breaks off, you can stick it back where it came from.
  2. Store cakes in a tightly sealed freezer bag for two weeks at room temperature, or up to three months in a refrigerator.
  3. At least once a week, brush cake with a generous amount of brandy to increase deliciousness.
  4. Try to flip cake upside down every other time you add brandy, to improve liquor penetration.

Even if you don’t like fruitcake, why don’t you listen to a hilarious story about it. I can’t link to it, but if you have iTunes, Look up Vinyl Cafe, and the Episode “Rashida, Amir, and the great gift-giving.” You’ll be thankful that you don’t have to fight a squirrel for this fruitcake!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Hi-Hat Cupcakes

Love chocolate and peanut butter together? So do I. Yum. However, I’m not a huge cupcake fan. I’ll eat them, sure, but if I’m making something for myself, I would more likely make a tart, ice cream, candy, or cookies. I made these for a lab meeting at work, though, and my colleagues love cupcakes – especially any featuring chocolate.

Sink your teeth into these chocolatey cupcakes topped with whipped peanut butter icing and chocolate shell.

IMG_1483

So yummy… when you bite into them, you get a creamy, nutty surprise:

IMG_1480

These would be perfect for a fancy occasion like a birthday party or for a potluck.

 

Agent Minty’s Peanut Butter Hi-Hat Cupcakes

Makes 18 medium cupcakes

Quick rich chocolate cupcakes (modified from Joy of Cooking)

  • 2 1/4 cups of white flour
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 9 Tbsp cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups cold water
  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 6 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  1. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Combine water, coffee granules, oil, vinegar, and vanilla
  3. Pour liquid ingredients into dry and mix until smooth.
  4. Pour into cupcake liners.
  5. Bake at 350F for 17-19 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool for at least 45 minutes.

Peanut butter whipped frosting

To get the creamiest consistency, I recommend using the cheap no-stir homogenized peanut butter. I use the natural stuff on my toast, but it’s famous gritty texture will interfere with your frosting here.

  • 3 1/2 Tbsp margarine (any kind is fine)
  • 2.5 Tbsp of smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3 1/3 c icing sugar
  • 5 Tbsp almond milk
  1. Cream together the first four ingredients.
  2. Add in icing sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with milk.
  3. Whip until a mousse-like texture has been achieved
  4. Transfer to a piping bag with a large tip  and place a large dollop on top of each cupcake.
    • Alternatively, use a spoon or a freezer bag with the corner cut off.
  5. Freeze topped cupcakes for at least one hour.

IMG_1455

Chocolate shell

Try to make this in a 2-cup container – wide enough to fit your fingertips, and deep enough to fit the frosted top of the cupcake. You will end up making more chocolate sauce than you will need. Try Adding extra coconut oil to the leftovers to make your own Magic Shell topping for ice cream.

  • 2 cups of vegan chocolate chips, divided
  • 2.5 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
  1. Melt half of each ingredient together in a heat-proof container in your microwave (3 30-second bursts should do it).
  2. Take a frozen, topped cupcake and dip into the chocolate sauce.
  3. Drip off the extra.
  4. While the chocolate is still wet, place on any decorations you want. I used salted roasted peanuts.
  5. Return cupcakes to the freezer, or keep out for immediate consumption.
  6. Allow cupcakes to thaw for 2 hours before serving. They will stay good for about 10 hours at room temperature, but the chocolate shell will get a little soft.

IMG_1462 IMG_1464 IMG_1466 IMG_1467 IMG_1468 IMG_1469

By the way, sorry for the lack of budget or healthy eating posts lately. With my busy schedule, most of my meals have been repeats of the staples – vegan homemade wieners, bean salad, spaghetti, or tinned soup. Cheap, yes, but not so interesting. We have a two-week break in the renos while we wait for a new counter, so hopefully in the meantime I’ll get inspired to document some weeknight cooking!

Cakes Lately

Just pictures of two cakes I made recently.

My nephew turned 11 and spends most of his free time playing Minecraft. He wanted a Minecraft block cake, so I made a cake that somewhat resembles a dirt block:

Minecraft dirt block

The original

The cake

The cake

It was my turn to bring a snack to share at lab meeting the day after the Chinese New Year. As many of my colleagues celebrate this holiday, I made a cake in the form of a snake – 2013 is the Year of the Snake.

I made chocolate banana bread and baked it in a smallish bundt ban and a tiny loaf pan, and cut and rearranged the pieces to resemble a snake. The cake was covered in chocolate buttercream and then some store-bought red fondant. This was my first time working with commercial fondant, and was WAY easier than I had expected.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!

A few weeks from now I’ll show pics of what I plan to make for my family birthday party!